• How to Choose Paint Colours
  • Post author
    Jane Passmore
  • A4 Colour CardsHow to Choose Paint ColoursPaint Charts

How to Choose Paint Colours

Which Colour?

One of the most difficult decisions anyone faces before painting a room or a whole house is deciding which colour they will use. It can be a heart breaking and costly exercise if the right approach isn't taken from the beginning.

Don’t expect to get it right if you simply choose a colour from a chart, and head on out and buy your paint. It doesn’t work for colour consultants without experience so it’s highly unlikely it will work for anyone new to the task..

Before you tell yourself you’re hopeless at choosing colours consider this;  Interior designers and colour coordinators have a head start with access to many tools of the trade.  One of the most helpful has to be the  A4 colour card. It's an invaluable tool - one that enables us to look at a  colour over an area larger than what we see on a paint chart and therefore see the colour much more clearly.



                      How To Choose Paint Colours


Many a time I have loved the idea of a colour on a chart but immediately discarded it after seeing it on an A4 card.   


When you have narrowed down the field at the paint chart stage to say "one of the whites" or "one of the reds" - look very carefully for between 3 and 5 different versions of your colour on the chart and  buy a test pot for each one.  Banish the thought if you're thinking hard work.  Its nothing compared with a disastrous result if you don't make a little effort.


Don’t paint the test pot colours on your wall for two reasons; The colours are often hard to cover when your wall is painted with the real thing, and you need to to be able to move your test colour cards about. I will cover this point soon.


Paint your trial colours on to your  A4 cards making sure you get good even coverage of colour. Remember you're not looking for the best paint finish here, but you want to be able to see the paint colour evenly on the card.  It may take 3 coats and if you have brush marks it doesn't matter! -  this isn't your wall.


A few simple steps and you will have your decision: 

  • Look at your cards in the sunlight (morning is best because the afternoon sun gives off a yellow hue).
  • Eliminate the colours you don’t like and look at the remaining ones in the space they will be used in
  • Check them in the daylight in the sun, and in the shade. Also check them in artificial light at night and the shadowed area in the artificial light.  This is important because colours change in different lights.
  • Look at your colour cards with your carpet, or other flooring, benchtops, tiles, window joinery be it aluminium or woodwork, and anything the paint will be up against that is a permanent feature in your room.
  • If you don't own or haven's chosen your curtains or soft furnishings at this point, don't worry about trying to make everything work together at this stage.  When the time comes to add them to your scheme all you need to do is ensure they work with your paint colour and other permanent items mentioned above.


Most important tip of the blog:  If you don’t love it, don’t use it! This applies to colours of paints, fabrics and anything you purchase - particularly if it's a bargain.   It’s a little like buying a dress SORRY GUYS - .  If you stick rigidly with this rule you should be delighted with your end result.


Good luck with your project!  Your comments about this blog or feedback about your project are very welcome.

  • Post author
    Jane Passmore
  • A4 Colour CardsHow to Choose Paint ColoursPaint Charts

Comments on this post (2)

  • Feb 17, 2016

    Thank you for your feedback Pip. Very glad to be of help

    — Jane Passmore Homestead Range

  • Feb 09, 2016

    Very useful advice when we are in the early planning stages of a new-build house – thank you!

    — Pip Gunn

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